Nom de Plumage

June 11, 2013

Ich Einer Berliner

Come on, it is one of the greatest faux pas ever and I love it. So when in Berlin………

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Berlin is one of the more unusual cities that I have visited and I say that with affection and awe. It is the capital of Germany and yet, there are no crowds as you would expect. There are large vacant plots of land within the city, which is something you do not expect in a capital city and it is a metropolis with an eclectic mix of stunning old stone architecture and amazing modern glass design. It is a city of wide boulevards, culture, fabulous museums and relatively cheap compared to other world capitals. One cannot deny its violent history and nothing represents this more than the infamous Brandenburg Gate. I have seen it countless times in photo’s and footages of World War II and remember the live telecast when the Berlin Wall is pulled apart with bare hands and hammers, right in front of this gate. A most profound and surreal feeling as I stand before it. It is a beautiful piece of architecture and the gateway to a wonderful wide boulevard of Unten Linden Strasse.

Christiane and I walked through the gate and directly on either side of the boulevard, is fittingly, the American and French Embassies. This street has some wonderful shops and museums i.e. the Kennedy Museum, Madame Tussaud’s and my favourite, a whole shop dedicated to one of Germany’s famous products – Nivea. It is the only shop that I have come across, where people gasp in delight when they see it (me included). We spent some time here and then went to the wax museum because Christiane has never seen a museum like this and it is also great fun.

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This is my second wax museum and it won’t be my last. There is something bizarre about seeing your idol or someone famous up close and let’s face it, for the majority of us, this is as good as it gets! We had great fun. Each wax museum will have famous personalities that represent something that the world admires and loves i.e. Nelson Mandela or Einstein, plus a wonderful mix of famous national celebrities. Here in the Berlin Madame Tussaud’s is Beethoven, Sissy, Carl Jung, Anne Frank, Steffi Graff, Boris Becker and my favourite – Oliver Khan. The pose is just perfect!

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Friedrichstrasse is the main boulevard within the city. It is very long and it was once famously cut in half by the Berlin Wall. It is here that we find an amazing shopping precinct and stop for lunch. It is a fairly decent size mall that offers a wonderful array of food shops to choose from. The problem was, which one to choose and so we both opted for something simple and light. Christiane discovered an alcohol shop to die for. She is in the industry and was very envious of the size and array of different alcohols from around the world. Just around the corner from our lunch stop, is Berlin’s most beautiful square. Beautiful ornate stone buildings circumnavigate this square. There is a theatre and the Franzossischer Dom. For a few euros, we climbed the million stair spiral staircase (just joking about the million, but it bloody felt like it) and exited to the roof top for a spectacular 360 degree view of the city. Unfortunately, the weather was not great.


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Towards the middle of Friedrichstrasse, is Check Point Charlie. For any tourist visiting this city, I highly recommend seeing it and the museum. It is an iconic representation of the communist era and although there is a soldier standing at the gate, it is now only for show. There is a place where for one euro each stamp, you can get your passport stamped with East German, Russian, USA, Britain and French stamps. I did it and thought nothing of it; until later. One must remember that your passport is an official document and your identity when travelling in foreign countries. Those stamps sold for one euro are not official and therefore, you are allowing illegal stamps in a legal document. I do not believe anyone has ever had their passport confiscated (I got a warning), most tourists visiting the city have fallen into the same trap, but it begs the question, why do they allow it when they know what the ramifications could be?

I went to the museum alone because my companion has already see it. It was full with tourists. Several levels and many rooms filled with tragic stories of betrayal and survival of victims who had to endure the brutal regime. There was so much information to absorb. Other countries that are also affected by the brutal communist regime are represented here. There are documents, footage, memorabilia and so much more crammed into this place. At the entrance to this place, is a giant piece of the Berlin Wall, graffiti and all.

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Night is closing in and we are both hungry after having only a light lunch. Not far from the museum is a Thai restaurant that looks very modern and has a calming atmosphere. I ordered a non alcoholic fruit cocktail that not only was big, but it had a zing that exploded in my mouth. It was delicious! My meal of noodles with vegetables in a coconut sauce is a dish that I almost always order because nothing represents fresh Thai food than noodles and vegetables. The coconut sauce is my weakness.  For dessert, a fruit salad accompanied with an amazing and very unusual tea of ginger, chilli, honey and milk froth. Wow!







1 Comment »

  1. […] Ich Einer Berliner ( […]

    Pingback by Berlin Landscape of Memory: Before the Wall Came Down and Today | Sunset Daily — June 12, 2013 @ 2:49 am | Reply

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